Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

My Photo
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, April 30, 2010

Manurewa Marae opens whare oranga with sadness

A kaumatua of Manurewa Marae says the opening of a new health clinic was tinged with sadness, but looked towards a brighter future.

Te Manu Aute Whare Oranga is a joint venture between the marae and Counties Manukau Health.

Alec Tairua says today's ceremony included unveiling memorials to two workers killed last year when a relocated house which was to serve as the clinic slipped from its supports.

More than 100 people have already registered with the health clinic, and the search is on to fully staff it.


The Maori Affairs Minister, Pita Sharples, is describing the extra tax on tobacco as tough love from the nanny state.

Dr Sharples says he knows many Maori addicts won't cut down, and the extra amount they spend on cigarettes could mean less food on the table for their children.

But he says smoking reduction is a kaupapa the Maori Party is making its own.

“It's very much an example of tough love. At the end of the day we are over-represented in the statistics of dying through smoking and we’re represented in the figures of smoking amongst our youth as well, so it is tough love,” Dr Sharples says.

He says there is always the nanny state factor when government pushes does what it believes is good for the people.


The Historic Places Trust's Maori heritage advisor would like to see more information made available to the public about prominent waahi tapu.

Helen Brown interviewed dozens of tangata whenua for an exhibition at Akaroa Museum on Takapuneke, the scene of the 1830 massacre where Ngai Tahu ariki Te Maiharanui was killed.

She combined those interviews with text and images to show why the area also known as Greens Point is considered sacred by Maori of Akaroa and Oonuku.

“A lot of our waahi tapu rest silently in the landscape. Their history isn’t evident. You look down into the bay and it’s a beautiful place but it just appears as paddocks so in future we’re looking at the development of a conservation plan and a management plan, making people have a connection with that place and its history,” Ms Brown says

Before the exhibition Nga Roimata o Takapuneke, which closes on Monday, many residents had no idea of the land's historical significance .


Five carvers from Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute are in Shanghai to put the finishing touches to a 10 metre waka mau mahara that will serve as the entrance to New Zealand's world Expo pavillion.

Te Puia visitor experience manager Karl Johnstone says about two thirds of the work on the 3500 year old kauri log has been done, and the carvers start tomorrow on the surface decoration and kowhaiwhai, under the eye of thousands of daily visitors.

He says yesterday's opening of the pavilion was awe-inspiring, particularly the unveiling of the 1800 kilo pounamu boulder which stands at the entrance.

“Chinese are very much a jade culture as well so strong connection to them with that but also with the carving because of the story and I guess with the values that go along with the gifting of this piece to the people of China. There’s a lot of synergies between the values of the Chinese and Maori so they understand the conceptual nature of the work,” Mr Johnstone says.

The Maori contribution should help the New Zealand pavilion stand out.


More input from parents is being credits with improving the achievement of Maori students.

Patrick Walsh, the president of the Secondary Principal's Association, Patrick Walsh, says there is a huge increase in the number of Maori staying on until year 13 and gaining the three levels of the National Certificate of Education Achievement.

Contributing factors include the way NCEA better addresses Maori needs, new approaches to management of Maori students such as Te Kotahitanga, and changes in parents' attitudes.

“We're getting more engagement from the whanau. We have whanau committees that have been established in schools, Maori parents have greater aspirations for their children. They’re prepared to sit on boards of trustees. They’re prepared to monitor the work of their children. They want them to go to university and achieve,” Mr Walsh says.

Improved performance by Maori is reflected in better behaviour both in and out of school.


A pioneer teacher of te reo Maori is launching another story books in Rotorua about now.

Aunty Bea Yates from Ngati Pikiao was the first itinerant teacher of Maori in the Waiariki rohe.

She hopes Hoha Te Taniwha will match the success of One Day a Taniwha, which she and daughter-in-law Gay Kingi self-published last year.

Aunty Bea says started writing her stories half a century ago on sheets of A3 paper because she discovered there were no resources in Maori.

She started publishing after her daughter in law found piles of her old A3 books at the back of a classroom

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

NCEA bringing positive change for Maori students

Maori under-achievement at school is being rapidly turned around.

The president of the Secondary Principal's Association, Patrick Walsh, says latest figures show a huge increase in the number of Maori staying on until year 13 and passing levels 1, 2 and 3 of the National Certificate of Education Achievement.

He says while a lack of jobs in the economy means students are more likely to stay on, Maori also find the greater range of subjects under NCEA attractive.

“When you look at the way things were four or five years ago, there’s been a huge leap in the achievement of Maori students and more Maori students are entitled to attend universities. I think that’s a fantastic thing for schools when you also conider that what we’ve got now in New Zealand of course is the browning of New Zealand, we are going to have more Maori and Pacific students in our schools,” Mr Walsh says.

The improved engagement of Maori students in schools is leading to less anti-social behaviour and a reduction in criminal offending.


Relations between Auckland Regional Council chair Mike Lee and city mayor John Banks have plummeted over attitudes to heritage management.

Mr Lee accuses the super city mayoral candidate of politicking over converting century-old sheds on Queens Wharf into Rugby World Cup party central, while at the same time his council is fighting the ARC in court over protection of an ancient Maori settlement site on Waiheke.

But Mr Banks says in the five months he has left in the job, Mr Lee should reflect on how hard it is to do business with the regional council.

“He's quite bitter and quite twisted about anyone that has any view that he doesn’t share. If it’s not his view, he doesn’t share it, they’re wrong, they’re mad, they’re bad. You can’t be like that in politics. You have to disagree without being disagreeable,” Mr Banks says.


Police are considering how they can use Maori wardens to help with any extra work associated with the Rugby World Cup.

Superintendent Grant O'Fee, who's in charge of police planning for the event, says wardens and police are working more closely after a police-led training programme.

He says it makes sense to include them in planning for the cup.

He says how each district uses wardens will be a partnership between the police and the wardens.

Superintendent O'Fee says the response from Maori wardens to being involved has been extremely positive.


Health Waikato researchers have found young Maori in the region have the highest reported infection rates in the world of the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia, which can cause infertility.

Research head Jane Morgan estimates one in 10 under 25 year olds have Chlamydia with one in five young Maori women testing positive compared to one in nine non-Maori.

She says similar research in other parts of the country would probably uncover similar rates, and they are almost certainly due to high levels of testing compared to other countries.

“The last message I want to get out there is there is any difference in sexual behaviour. It may be that some young women have greater difficulty getting their partners to use a condom. That might be and issue but it’s not an issue of promiscuity, it’s an issue of access. Access to antibiotics. Access to condoms – how do young people actually get condoms,” Dr Morgan says.

She says 70 percent of people with Chlamydia don't know they have it.


The head of the Problem Gambling Foundation says the organisation is starting to make a dent in Maori gambling.

Graeme Ramsey says the number of people seeking treatment was up 25 percent last year, and more than a third of those assisted were Maori.

He says awareness campaigns and the impact of the recession are encouraging gamblers to face up to their sickness.

“Treatment works. We can help people who are impacted by gambling whether that is gamblers or their whanau or even the employers of gamblers,” Mr Ramsey says.

More than 70 percent of problem gambling comes from pokie machines which have a particular attraction for Maori, so the sinking lid policies many councils are adopting are starting to have an impact.


A Maori community worker is finding his new job listening to victims of state abuse is unexpectedly harrowing.

Bobbie Newson from Te Rarawa is part of a new Confidential Listening and Assistance Service for people who claim they were abused in psychiatric hospitals, health camps, child welfare care or special education homes before 1992.

He says many of those wanting to tell their stories are Maori, and what he's hearing at sessions in Arohata women’s prison, and Rimutaka Prison show the need for the service.

“I can only take one or two of these a day. You can sit there, you can cry, you can laugh with them and then it’s like they bring their life before you, and some of it is really really sad,” Mr Newson says.

The panel can't pay compensation, but it can suggest ways people can get further help.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recreational fish survey could surprise

Te Ohu Kaimoana chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana has welcomed the government's plan to spend $5 million over the next four years studying the recreational fishing sector.

Mr Tomoana says lack of data on how much recreationalists and charter boats were taking has hampered planning and threatened to undermine the quota management sector.

He says informal monitoring by Ngati Kahungunu at Waimarama indicates the potential size of the problem.

“There's 200 boats every weekend in the summer. They bring in a modest amount each but when you tally it all up it’s phenomenal. I’d say it outstrips the commercial catch by five to one in terms of crayfish, in terms of paua, in terms of kahawai and other things,” Mr Tomoana says.

As well as being a help to Maori fishing companies, the research could help whanau and hapu manage their customary fisheries.


More than 200 members of Waikato-Tainui will head to Wellington next week to see the Waikato River Settlement bill signed into law.

Negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan is elated the bill got through its committee stages this week without major change.

He says attacks from the ACT Party on the bill's promise to protect the tribe's spiritual relationship with the Waikato River only highlights the need for the tribes to have a role in managing the river.

“We've always said the river is our ancestor. It’s no different to how the Jews see the River Jordan or the Egyptians see the pyramids. All those things are hugely culturally important. People and the river are indivisible. For the ACT Party to describe it as hocus pocus is nonsense,” Mr Morgan says.


An expert on tobacco tax says there's no better time for whanau to quit smoking than straight after a price hike.

Parliament last night increased the excise tax on cigarettes by 10 percent, and the tax on loose tobacco by 14 percent.

Murray Laugeson from Health New Zealand says 80,000 people quit after the last price rise in 2000, but 80 percent of them were back smoking within four months.

He says with one in two adult Maori smoking, it's important whanau support those members who will quit in the next few days.

“There still a risk that people will go off and then come back on, particularly in the first 24 hours, so today’s the day. It’s Very important that all health people be on the job talking to smokers who they meet in their professional capacity today. By tomorrow they may have gone back to their habit,” Dr Laugeson says.

While the extreme urgency of the law change was necessary to prevent hoarding, it also means smoking cessation programmes could be caught on the hop.


Greens co-leader Metria Turei says the government is ignoring Maori opposition to mining on conservation lands.

Tonight in Wellington the Greens host a debate with mining and business interests on whether mining should go ahead.

Ms Turei says while the Conservation Department met Ngai Tahu last year to discuss mining in the South, iwi in the Coromandel, Great Barrier Island and other areas vulnerable to mining have been left out as the new policy has been developed.

“Tangata whenua have been totally missed out of this process. That is entirely unacceptable and it goes to show that the Government’s real attitude to Maori is one of disdain,” Ms Turei says,

National MPs declined the invitation to take part in tonight's debate.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says the sudden rise in the tax on tobacco needs to matched by an equally urgent boost to smoking cessation programmes.

Labour voted with the government this week to boost the tax by 10 percent today and another 10 percent in each of the next two years.

Mr Horomia says the tax rise will make things tougher for Maori smokers, especially the large number of young Maori women who have taken up the habit in recent years.

“It's symptomatic of how the economy is performing and at the moment there is a lot of stresses and strains in the economy and that is certainly not an excuse but people struggle and they smoke because it’s the one thing they can do that they can control,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the jury is out on whether the tax rise alone will reduce the number of smokers, so something more needs to be done to help people quit.


World champion axeman Jason Wynard left for France today to hone his timbersport coaching skills.

The 130 kg athlete from Ngapuhi and Manaipoto has amassed more than 110 world titles in almost 2 decades of international competition.

He says with New Zealand's summer chopping competitions over and another two world titles from the Sydney Easter Show in the bag, the 10 day camp with the French squad will be a change of focus both physically and linguistically.

Aquaculture red tape cleared

The chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana is welcoming reform of the aquaculture sector.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says iwi should benefit from any reduction in red tape around getting fish and shelLfish farms started.

He says Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley has increased the chance of the reform succeeding by getting broad agreement in principle from the commercial, recreational and Maori customary sectors before taking a proposal to Cabinet.

He's also tacked the major problem of managing any adverse effects from marine farming.

“Most iwi have interests in the wild fishery and in aquaculture and so it’s to our interest that undue adverse effects are well balanced so we are not going to go in rash to favour weighting in aquaculture against the wild fishery or the wild fishery against aquaculture so it’s quite a balancing act and again the minister has pulled everybody together,” Mr Tomoana says.


The Labour Party is accusing Education Minister Anne Tolley of gross discrimination against Maori immersion schools.

Spokesperson Kelvin Davis says a contracts signed by Mrs Tolley in January give seven new wharekura only $50,000 a year in operational funding, compared with $130,000 for similarly-sized mainstream schools.

The former intermediate school principal says that's the money schools rely on for their day to day operations.

“The base funding for wharekura is about a third of what a mainstream school of similar size is getting. That’s just outright discriminatory of wharekura,” Mr Davis says.

He says it's disgraceful that when Labour raised the issue in Parliament, it was Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell who attempted to come to Mrs Tolley's rescue.


The author of a book on pioneer anthropologist Elsdon Best says historians need to read Maori to give justice to New Zealand history.

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says understanding Tuhoe history would help people understand the demands the iwi is now making for ownership and control of te Urewera National Park.

He says his own studies were helped by correspondence in the National Archives from Best's main informant, Tutakangahau.

“Maori they're unique in colonial history in the western world in that they came to literacy very early and they wrote and left a record of their thoughts and feelings about everything. There’s a treasure trove in our national archive that’s waiting to be explored by scholars, Maori and Pakeha, but you first of all need some literacy in Maori,” Dr Holman says.

He says too much New Zealand history has been one-sided, because it's written by people who don't understand Maori.


Tainui is on the hunt for a chief executive who won't play politics.

The Employment Relations Authority has dismissed a claim by former chief executive Hemi Rau that the tribe's executive was wrong to sack him for allegedly leaking information to the media.

Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says it's important everyone in leadership positions in the tribe knows their role.

“Politics is the domain of the chair. Getting on and running the business of the tribe at an operational level is led by a chief executive officer and I am looking forward to finding the right person who can be the chief executive for Waikato Tainui. The tribe is on the move and we can't wait,” Mr Morgan says.

Tainui is looking forward to next week’s third reading of the Waikato River settlement bill, which will give the iwi a formal role in management of the awa.


Maori anti-smoking groups are welcoming the move by Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia to raise the price of tobacco by a third over the next three years.

The Maori Party co-leader's bill was passed under extreme urgency and came into effect at midnight.

Shane Kawenata Bradbrook from Te Reo Marama says raising the price is one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption and prevalence rates.

He's pleased there will be three consecutive 10 percent tax increases, but some of that money needs to go to smoking cessation programmes.

The law brings the tax on loose tobacco in line with tailormades, which will hit the 73 percent of Maori smokers who roll their own.


Auckland Regional Council chair Mike Lee is accusing Auckland mayor John Banks of opposing heritage protection to advance his chances to become super city mayor.

Mr Lee says against ARC opposition, Mr Banks and his Citizens and Ratepayers allies want to put a wrecking ball through historic art deco sheds on Auckland's Wynyard Wharf.

He says Auckland City is also fighting the ARC's attempts to protect an archaic burial site at Owhiti Beach on Waiheke, which millionaire John Spencer wants to build a house on.

“The site is so old they’ve found pieces of pearl shells and other artifacts that could have come from central Polynesia. So it’s a very old settlement site. It’s also a beautiful and unspoiled sand dune beach which is quite rare on Waiheke Island,” Mr Lee says.

Maori hand in policymaking needed

The Families Commission says government agencies need to engage with Maori more when they are developing policies.

Commissioner Kim Workman says commission's new Whanau Strategy document offers agencies guidelines for consultation and engagement.

He says the issue is going to come up more as departments grapple with the holistic approach envisaged in the new Whanau Ora approach to service delivery.

“So often what we see is paternalistic policy that’s developed sometimes by Maori but within a Pakeha framework, within a cultural framework that suits bureaucracies in terms of outcomes and outputs and performance measurements and all the rest of it but actually doesn’t work because it’s missing that sort of wairua that’s existing within Maoridom,” Mr Workman says.

Maori may see the world and respond to it in ways that are shaped by their culture.


The head of the Law Commission says Maori are hit harder by the negative effects of alcohol than other New Zealanders.

The commission has released a major study recommending changes to the drinking age, the availability of alcohol, the way it's advertised and its price.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer says there is evidence the disproportionate impact of alcohol consumption on Maori is not simply reflecting inequalities in society but may be creating them.

“Maori are more likely to die of alcohol relate causes and more likely to be apprehended by the police for an offence that involves alcohol and they‘re more likely to experience harmful effects on areas such as their financial position or their work or their study or their employment or suffer injury as a result of drinking,” Sir Geoffrey says.

The negative impact on Maori should be taken more seriously by policymakers.


Hawkes Bay schools are concerned many parents and teachers still don't understand how the National Certificate of Educational Achievement works.

Workshops on the qualification are heing held at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga.

Ron Huata, the kura's pou wharekura/ principal, says the NCEA has been round since 2001, but there are barriers to acceptance.

“We know for a fact from our own whanau that we need to explain to them in language they can understand so they can better support their tamariki,” Mr Huata says.

The workshops are for whanau and teachers from all schools in the area.


Tainui is looking forward to hiring a new manager now the Employment Relations Authority has found its executive Te Ara Taura acted appropriately when it sacked former chief executive Hemi Rau for leaking stories to the media.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the ruling should bring an end to what has been a tumultuous and destabilising time for the Waikato iwi, marked by further leaks of confidential information.

He says it's inevitable that as tribes try to develop economically and politically, there will be challenges.

“And those challenges and questions often end up in the press and we have always said that confidentiality of information is hugely important to us. We have to defend our own integrity, but some of our people can't help themselves,” Mr Morgan says.

He says Hemi Rau has made a valuable contribution to Tainui over the years, and it's regrettable the association ended in such a way.


The preservation of South Island rock art has got a $650,000 boost from the Lotteries Board.

Amanda Symon from the Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Trust says the grant will allow completion of the trust's $2.7 million museum and interpretive centre in Timaru.

She says there are more than 800 examples of rock art around the Ngai Tahu rohe, with many of the sites open to the weather or vandalism.

The trust wants to raise awareness to the level of other New Zealand icons such as the kiwi.

While it's hard to date rock art, images of now-extinct birds like moan and the giant eagle pouakai indicates some might go back to the first occupants of Te Waipounamu.


The Fire Service believes its fire safety message is getting through to marae.

Maori liaison officer Lana Ngawhika of Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao and Ngai Tuhoe says three years of seminars are paying off.

She says attendance at the latest wananga in Rotorua shows Marae trustees are keen to learn how to protect their taonga and wharenui.

The seminars also encourage people to get the message out to whanau about fire safety in the home.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Labour on sidelines for Tuhoe claim

Labour leader Phil Goff says the Opposition won't be dragged into Tuhoe's treat settlement negotiations.

Mr Goff has confirmed he was briefed last year on progress by Tuhoe's chief negotiator, Tamati Kruger.

Tuhoe is seeking not only the return of the land taken by the Crown for Te Urewera National Park, but full management of the park.

Mr Goff says Labour can't intervene in negotiations between the government and particular iwi, and it can only stand by the principles it followed when it was in the negotiator's chair.

“The bottom line for for the Labur Party is always that you maintain public access while respecting the mana and the customary rights of the people,” Mr Goff says.

Tuhoe also raised the October 2007 police raid on Ruatoki, but Labour had to respect the independence of the police to do their job without interference from Government.


The Alcohol Advisory Council's Maori strategy manager says a new television ad is a deliberate attempt to avoid stereotyping Maori.

Tuari Potiki says it was a response to research showing people are still unsure how to approach the topic, and it drops the shock approach of recent campaigns.

The ad shows a Maori footballer telling his Pakeha team mate to do something about his drinking.

“We didn't want these ads having the people receiving the help being Maori or Pacific or whoever. We wanted to move beyond that stereotype that we’re always recipients of these things. It was part of our strategy to include Maori and Pacific People to also ensure they weren’t at the wrong end of the conversation,” Mr Potiki says.

He says the Law Commission's recommendations to raise the drinking age and reduce the hours alcohol can be sold would benefit the wider community.


The country's largest Maori tertiary education provider has marked its 25th birthday by getting back to its roots.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa is now a nationwide operation, but it started as a scheme by the Waipa Kokiri Centre to build a marae at Te Awamutu College.

Chief executive Bentham Ohia says yesterday's celebration at Otawhao Marae was a chance to remember those pioneering years and the wananga's kaupapa of whanau transformation through education.

He says a new tradition has been created, with the original Waipa Kokiri flag to be flown from all wananga campuses on April 27 each year, to remember the contribution of those founders.

Another Ngai Tahu tourism venture is all go thanks to the Lottery Board.

Maori Rock Art Centre curator Amanda Symon says the $650,000 grant announced yesterday completes fund-raising for the $2.7 million venture in Timaru.

She says it has taken eight years to raise enough money not only to fit out the virtual display centre but to identify and protect the 500 plus pre-European rock art sites in the Ngai Tahu rohe.

The Timaru centre should be open by the end of the year.


A whanau violence prevention worker says changes to liquor laws can't come soon enough.

The Law Commission is recommending sweeping changes to the laws governing the sale and distribution of alcohol to combat what it calls a developing culture of binge drinking.

It proposes raising the drinking age to 20, banning sales from off licence premised after 10pm and making all bars close by 4am.

Ngaroimata Reid from Tu Wahine Trust in west Auckland says most Maori familes she works with are living with the negative consequences of alcohol abuse.


The Maori Language Commission has stepped in to a row over Kapiti Coast District Council's use of macrons.

Some councilors say the council's use of macrons, small lines to indicate the length of vowels, is political correctness gone mad.

But macron defenders say the PC they encourage is the correct pronunciation of names such as Kapiti, Otaki and Paekakariki.

Te Taura Whiri chief executive Wayne Ngata says either macrons or double vowels are a good way to encourage correct use of the reo.

Mr Ngata says the academic debate over use of macrons or double vowels is over and either is now seen as acceptable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuhoe talking tough on Te Urewera

Tuhoe's chief negotiator says the Crown has no case for hanging on to Te Urewera National Park.

Tamati Kruger says return of the 2000 square kilometre park is a bottom line for the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi, but it's prepared to maintain and improve public access.

The government has offered other iwi co-governance of national parks as part of settlements, but it consistently rejected the comprehensive handover the Tuhoe is seeking.

Mr Kruger says Te Urewera is in a unique situation.

“It is the only part where the local people live thoughout the park. Their lands are scattered within that park are. That’ s like a smoking gun. It’s evidence the national park looks incidently like the Rohe potae of Tuhie before to Crown interference,” Mr Kruger says.

Tuhoe hopes to complete its negotiations this year.


Families commissioner Kim Workman has praised the contribution of former Social Welfare boss Christine Rankin to the commission's whanau strategy.

When Ms Rankin was appointed to the commission, critics claimed she would be out of touch with the reality for Maori families.

But Mr Workman from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa says that was far from the case.

“Christine Rankin has been one of our most fervent supporters and she has seen for herself the issues and responded very positively to them” Mr Workman says.

He says too often policy is developed within a Pakeha framework which suits the bureaucracy but fails to reflect the way Maori see the world and respond to it.


Te Wananga o Aotearoa is celebrating its 25th birthday.

Chief executive Bentham Ohia says the Maori education powerhouse dates its origins back to the building of Otawhau Marae as part of Te Awamutu College.

Founder Rongo Wetere was concerned at the numbers of Maori students the college was suspending or expelling, and enlisted master carver Pakariki Harrison and his wife Hinemoa to build a whare where students could celebrate their culture.

Mr Ohia says it's been a great day in the south Waikato town, as supporters remembered the contributions of those who have gone and looked to the future.

“So it's a time for solidarity, it’s a time to ensure we continue to centre our mission around whanau transformation through education,” Mr Ohia says.

Over the quarter century more than 250,000 students have studied with the nationwide tertiary education provider.


The Alcohol Advisory Council's Maori manager is backing recommendations for sweeping changes to alcohol laws.

Tuari Potiki says the reforms suggested by the Law Commission today will help reduce the harm alcohol is doing to many Maori families.

They include raising the drinking age to 20, a 10 pm cutoff for off-license sales, and all bars to close by 4am.

Mr Potiki says this will not adversely affect the majority of people who enjoy a social drink, even if alcohol retailers protest.

He says Maori drink less often, but are more prone to binge drinking and drunkenness which can lead to accidents and alcohol-fueled domestic violence.


One of the authors of a report on the treatment of child witnesses hopes it will help the many Maori children forced to take part in trials.

Emma Davies from Auckland University of Technology's (AUT) Institute of Public Policy says it's clear giving evidence is a traumatic experience for the majority of child complainants and witnesses.

She says while children interviewed remained anonymous and their ethnicity was not part of the study, previous work in the field indicates a disproportionate number are likely to be Maori.

Dr Davies says children aren't given basic information before they are put on the witness stand, and they can become distressed by being asked complex questions by defence lawyers.


The Maori and Pacific Island coordinator for Playmarket says Maori plays may be easier to sell overseas than at home.

The playwrights' agency is holding monthly readings and workshops in south Auckland to encourage more people to write for the stage.

Jenny Heka says Maori theatre has come a long way since the Maori Theatre Company's production of Porgy and Bess in the 1960s.

She says there is international interest in plays that reflect contemporary Maori and Polynesian life.

“The call for overseas is they want to hear these Maori and Pacific stories whereas in New Zealand sometimes … generally we find it hard to get our stories on main stage,” Ms Heka says.

The playwriting workshops are on the last Thursday of each month at the Metro theatre in Mangere East.

Time to patch up whanau

Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia is attacking Local Government New Zealand's bid to extend Whanganu's gang patch ban.

The organisation is drafting an amendment to the Local Government Act which would allow any council to outlaw insignia.

Mrs Turia says councils should concentrate on what gang members do, rather than what they wear, by offering alternatives to crime and violence.

She says gangs are part of the community.

“A lot of these guys and particularly at home in Whanganui are very closely related to us. Stop talking about them as gang members. Talk about them as whanau members and have a look at what we should all be doing to provide them with opportunities focusing on their potential,” Mrs Turia says.

She says in the past local bodies have successfully modified gang behavour through contract work schemes, rather than trying to isolate and ostracise them.


Tuhoe negotiators are proposing a transitional arrangement which would give the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi full control of Te Urewera National Park within a decade.

Chief negotiator Tamati Kruger says Tuhoe hopes to have a final agreement by the end of the year.

He says ownership and control of Te Urewera is a bottom line for the iwi, but it might take some time to sell it to the public ... so a five to 10 year plan could be in order.

“It would give the Department of Conservation and Tuhoe some time to provide proof to the New Zealand public that their rights are unimpeded into Te Urewera and that a governance and management plan will provide greater accessibility, better hospitality, better tracks and huts and improved services,” Mr Kruger says.

The Crown's position that it wants to jointly look after the 212,000 ha park is unacceptable to Tuhoe


A Maori academic who helped draft the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is backing the secrecy around New Zealand's affirmation of the document.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has copped flak for last week's trip to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

Aroha Mead from Victoria University, who started working on the draft in the 1980s, says the issue has become politicised because of Labour's opposition to the declaration, so caution is understandable.

“There have been some criticisms of the secret nature of the trip but given the political climate and the reaction of some of the parties in Parliament to the news, I can understand why it was done in a secretive way,” Ms Mead says.

Despite her long association with the declaration, she only heard of Pita Sharples’ trip the night before.


A New Zealander who worked on the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says the previous Labour government dragged the country's international reputation to an all time low.

Aroha Mead from Ngati Awa and Ngati Porou says while New Zealand officials participated in the meetings where the document was drafted, behind the scenes its politicians lobbied to water it down.

She says people around the world were shocked when New Zealand failed to sign up to the minimum standards agreed in the declaration.

“It's probably one thing when you’re sitting over in the Beehive in Wellington to think that it’s ok to mess around with an international negotiation but when you’re the person who’s sitting in the UN as one of four countries in the world to vote against the adoption of this instrument, it was really shocking and it was a low point in New Zealand’s credibility as a democratic nation,” Ms Mead says.

She believes Labour opposed the declaration because it cast its Foreshore and Seabed Act in a bad light, and says it's wonderful New Zealand has now signed up to it.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says there's a downside to including Maori terms in legislation.

Mrs Turia says consultation over the review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act has thrown up gaps between what words mean to Maori and what they mean to officials.

She says peole seem to be talking past each other on concepts like ownership, property rights and kaitiakitanga, usually translated as guardianship.

“The moment we start using our own cultural terminology, the Crown then begin to define what that means. We get a lower definition of what those rights are when we start using words like kaitiakitanga, it seems to enable the Crown to give us less rights than what we are entitled to,” Mrs Turia says

She says Maori shouldn't have to put up with second rate settlements.


A veteran actor and director Jim Moriarty says a play about Maori participation in the Battle for Crete has a wealth of lessons for at risk Maori youth.

Te Rakau Charitable trust is this week staging Battalion by Helen Pearse-Otene at St Bernards School in Wellington.

Mr Moriarty plays a Maori Battalion veteran remembering the battle, and the other roles of Battalion members and contemporary youth are played by rangatahi who are in Te Rakau's residential programme.

He says the play offers positive male role models, and it also gives the boys a chance to measure their progress.

“It allows them to play in a disciplined and constructive way, because they’re all natural little actors thee kids, they’ve been acting to survive most of their lives probably, putting on some sort of show, lying, cheating, thieving, manipulating, and here we are going let’s turn that into something with more pro-social outcomes around it,” Mr Moriarty says.

He says the Maori Battalion attracted risk-takers, who today might have ended up on the streets.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Turia keen on Families Commission data

The associate minister of Social Development, Tariana Turia, is defending the Families Commission from an attack by her senior minister, Paula Bennett.

It has emerged that Ms Bennett wrote to former chief executive Jan Pryor that the commission's research was not of a high enough standard to be used when making policy decisions.

Mrs Turia says she's more than happy with the new whanau policy developed by the commission's Whanau Reference Group.

“It's strengths based. It defines the whanau, what gives them strength and what makes them unique and what they need to develop their own resources and skills. We’ve never had this before. And it talks about to building partnerships with whanau, hapu and iwi to ensure well being for whanau so I am really pleased with the work,” Mrs Turia says.

Her Whanau Ora strategy will benefit from the Families' Commission's work.


Former Labour MP Georgina Beyer says an experienced Maori presence in Wairarapa local government could smoothe the waters if pressure comes on for amalgamation.

Ms Beyer is standing for the Masterton mayoralty, while former New Zealand First MP Ron Mark is after her old job as mayor of Carterton.

She expects amalgamation will be on the government's agenda, depending on what happens in the Auckland super city, which makes the quality of leadership at local level critical.

“I reckon with the likes of myself and possibly Ron Mark and some a good selections by voters of councilors, the Wairarapa at least could be in a very good position to get the very best deal if such an event as amalgamation were to occur,” Ms Beyer says.

She's delighted at an unofficial newspaper poll which found 63 percent of Masterton voters back her run.


The organiser of a hui to combat Maori obesity in south Auckland says fast food chains are damaging the community.

Tania Rangiheuea says one in two adult Maori in the region is overweight.

She says Manukau Obesity Community Action, a joint initiative by the Counties Manukau District Health Board and the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, aims to address the problem ... and that could mean taking aim at those in the community who encourage and profit from obesity.

“Businesses in south Auckland are set up to support obesity and promote obesity so we’re fighting against that. I’m talking about fast food outlets,” Ms Rangiheuea says.

Wednesday night's hui at Nga Whare Waatea Marae will allow the community to start working towards a solution to the problem.


Former race relations concilliator Gregory Fortuin says excluding Maori from All Black teams touring South Africa was a grave injustice.

The South African expatriate and rugby enthusiast says there should be no debate about the merits of an apology by either the South African or New Zealand Rugby Unions.

Mr Fortuin (PRON: For-tayn) says he's discussed the issue with the president of the South African union, which has an apology on the agenda for its meeting next month.

“I’ve said to him the issue is not just addressing a grave injustice, but it will also help to assist healing of some deep wounds as well as empower Maoridom and acknowledge the mana they should have had then,” Mr Fortuin says.

Ultimately the public will judge the New Zealand union which is refusing a similar apology for excluding Maori from teams touring South Africa between 1928 and 1960.


A Maori business mentor says many Maori have the ideas to succeed in business but lack the technical know-how to survive.

Lisa Nathan of Nga Puhi and Tainui is contracted by Te Puni Kokiri to train and mentor to small to medium enterprises in Auckland.

She says without business education and experience, people a struggle to make their enterprises last past the first two or three years as issues like tax and lack of working capital come to a head.
Lisa Nathan says schools need to teach rangatahi about life skills like budgeting, and she's started the process by running a young enterprise scheme in a south Auckland high school.

The Maori Battalion is being remembered in Wellington this week in a play being performed nightly at St Bernards School in Brooklyn.

Battalion, written by Helen Pearse-Otene and directed and acted in by her partner Jim Moriarty, tells the story of a Maori veteran looking after a group of boys in a small town, who keeps slipping back into memories of the second world war Battle for Crete.

Mr Moriarty says the Maori Battalion story has special resonance for the cast, who are members of Te Rakau, a residential programme he runs for at-risk rangatahi.

“It wasn't just the crème de la crème that went. It was also the hard case adventurers, the risk takers who were sick of their one cow town, some of them, came down to the big and signed up, fibbed about their ages, and that’s what a lot of our boys are, they’re adventurous risk takers,” Mr Moriarty says.

He hopes to take the play to Crete next year for the 70th anniversary of the battle.

Foreshore plan fails consultation test

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says the Government’s plan to put the foreshore and seabed into the public domain is unacceptable to Maori.

A round of consultation on the proposed replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Act wound up with a hui in the Hokianga on Saturday.

Mr Harawaira, who has attended several of the hui around the country, says there has been a clear message coming through for Attorney General Chris Finlayson.

“The word is the same. Thank you very much for repealing this legislation. It was bad legislation. It was racist legislation. Thank you very much for restoring our right to go to court, which is a right that all New Zealanders have. On the third point, the title issue, we think that you are doing your best but we would rather it was back in Maori hands,” Mr Harawira says.

He’d like to see more time taken developing a replacement structure for Maori to manage their interests in the foreshore and seabed.


The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union is expecting a capacity crowd for the New Zealand Maori team’s clash with Ireland in Rotorua on June 18.

Operations manager Mike Rogers says preferential tickets went on sale to Bay supporters last week and they’re being snapped up.

Sales to the public open next week, and it’s likely the 32,000 seat International stadium will be full.

The Ireland match is the first of three to make the centenary of Maori rugby, with fixtures against England and the Barbarians to follow.


It was a whale of a result at the Tairawhiti kapahaka regionals in Gisborne over the weekend, with Te Whangara Mai Tawhiti taking top honours to lead six teams to the national competition in February.

Te Matatini event manger Willie Te Aho says it was a major organisational feat to get the record 21 teams onto the stage.

Also through are Tu Te Mauria, Waihirere, Te Hokawhitu aa Tu, Te Whanau aa Kai, and Te Aitanga a Hauiti ki Uawa.

Te Whangara Mai Tawhiti, which was the runner up in last year’s nationals, is off to Shanghai soon to represent New Zealand at the World Expo.


An expert on gang culture is accusing Local Government New Zealand of attacking gangs as a distraction from its lack of performance on more important issues.

The lobby group is drafting an amendment to the Local Government Act to allow members to follow Wanganui District Council’s lead and ban gang insignia.

Dennis O’Reilly says the Wanganui law is still being tested in the courts.

“You know where organized criminal groups are at the moment, we’d be better looking at finance companies and councilors might be better busying themselves with leaky homes. I think they’re needlessly distracted at this moment. The legislation’s there. It’s going to be tested in the High Court. Focus on stuff that’s got meaning in the moment,” Mr O’Reilly says.

Councils should try to help gang members find jobs rather than banning their patches.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira wants the Government to spend more time developing a replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Attorney General Chris Finlayson this weekend completed a round of consultation hui on his plans for declare the coast a public domain, while offering Maori a way to establish customary rights to parts of it.

Mr Harawira believes hapu and iwi will be able to establish those rights throughout the country, so more thought needs to be put into managing those rights.

“ How do you manage differences between hapu and hapu? Are the infrastructures in place to deal with things like access permits? Who manages the use rights and on what basis? What will be the relationship between iwi and local bodies? And is it going to be iwi who manage it, or will it be hapu? All of those things have yet to be worked out,” Mr Harawira says.

He says it could take another couple of years to come up with a suitable management system.


History was in the air in Gisborne over the weekend as 21 kapa haka teams battled out who will represent Tairawhiti when it hosts Te Matatini national championships in February.

Event manager Willie Te Aho says there were many moments of magic, especially when some of the culture’s leading icons made an appearance on stage.

They included Archbishop Brown Turei, and Waka Huia founders, Pen and Ngapo Wehi, who were three of the original committee who set p the first competition in 1952.

Whangara Mai Tawhiti, known affectionately on the coast as the Whaleriders, took top honours ahead of Tu Te Mauria and Waihirere.

Because so many roopu were competing, Te Hokawhitu aa Tu, Te Whanau aa Kai, and Te Aitanga a Hauiti ki Uawa also go through to Te Matatini.